Wednesday, April 22, 2009


It sometimes seems, and I think that people want it to seem--that life is effortless for some. They put on a show that things are going very well, and that life is easy, manageable, and never better. Their pictures show smiling faces, their emails chirp about picket fences, home renovations, and pets. And yet...something seems..amiss. I've written those emails, the ones where you tell everyone that things are Great! and your relationship is Going Well! and that you are Moving ahead! and going forward with the wedding/kitchen renovation/new car/vacation to the Caribbean.
But behind those emails, there are the same doubts. The same worries, the same IMperfections. That our haircut is outdated. That those 5 lbs are NEVER going to depart, that we're looking different than we did 5 years ago (how could we not?). That everyone else has more money/self confidence/mojo/luck/looks than we did.
But really, we are our own worst enemy. In reality, everyone else is staring at themselves in the mirror with that ever-critical eye turned on themselves. And everyone has their achilles heel that follows them, when they get out of bed in the morning, down the street, into the office, and back home.
So what is the trick? Recognizing your own weakness and chink in your armour can help. For me, taking the edge off involves listing my own positive points, like shiny hair, bright eyes, a sense of humour--against my short stature, my curvy build, and my non-fashionista sensibilities. It's not as bad as it sounds. The other strategy is to lose the sorority mindset and focus on the inner things. The things that don't show in photographs. Like, a core of strength that lets things shake you, but not take you. The way you calm yourself from anxiety in the face of a problem, and don't let it overtake you. Comforting a friend. Helping a parent. Giving advice.
Those things that don't show in photographs.
Those quiet, real things.

Monday, April 20, 2009


A rainy Monday. After stressing about Monday all day yesterday, the day was quite benign.

It began with a 4 am nightmare after which sleep eluded me. It was clock-watch-and-worry time.

I can't help it, it's what I do.

I started with work, the economy, (I guiltily admit that this was my first worry, perhaps because the nightmare had been work-related); I then moved on to family members, health and well-being, the general misery and failure of my personal life, and it went on from there.

I'm not remotely proud of unscrewing the Bell Jar in the middle of the night and crawling up inside it, but a girl has to do what a girl has to do. Sometimes there is no fighting the big worries that crop up in the early hours of the morning. You just have to let them in. Maybe it's really the only way to release them.

I had a mediocre weekend. Let me explain.
After attending what feels like the thousandth-wedding shower of my lifetime (albeit a fabulous one of a wonderful friend) I left feeling like I always do, like the one who is eternally not chosen, the ultimate singleton. The feeling didn't last, dinner with 5 girlfriends and 3 bottles of wine teased it out of me, but I still had to face Sunday morning. Ugh. Sometimes.

So now it's Monday evening, I've spent the evening the way I imagine grown-ups do, cooking, tidying up, watching the rain, feeding my sister's cat. And now, back in the swing of the work week, I feel a little more serene, like "here's my place".
It's the weekends that are scary. That remind me my identity has not yet found a niche in my personal life. It's all wrapped up in my work-life, where, for 10 years, I have been able to lose more hours then I have spent on myself, working for some nameless reason, covering ground that seems endless. But it's what I do. I'm reminded of a quote I once heard, someone defending their occupation-- "It's what I do--not who I am"...
Is it who I am?
Or what I do?
I think it's time to start really evaluating life outside the office.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Afternoon for Single Girls

Ahh Sunday afternoon. Sometimes, for a single girl with some time on her hands, it can be the most depressing time of the week. I've read articles and columns about what my sister and I have coined "Sunday Night Syndrome". It starts innocuously enough, maybe a few thoughts of the coming week twinging you while you're at the gym in the morning, or maybe while you're lying in bed, making excuses not to go to the gym.
Then you have some coffee, try to go outside and find the city teeming with people, all coupled up, wrapped around each other as they walk down the street. And you feel a little smaller, a little less noticed.
Throw in the fact that all your married and relationship-ed friends are doing husband/family/boyfriend things, and a girl can really go adrift.
You picture the rest of your life as one long, unbroken string of workweeks, and paying every bill yourself, and you are fully there. In an angst ridden Wonderland where your life, in your mid-thirties, does not really resemble the 'standard'.